Despite the fact that women now account for nearly 60 percent of the U.S. workforce, just 4 percent of the CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are female – and women make up just 17 percent of Congress members and 12 percent of state governors. But why?
A sttudy recently released from Florida International University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte doesn’t have the answers, either. Researchers set out to find the “why” behind the lack of women in leadership positions by looking at data from several previous studies and analyzing it. Some factors considered were level of education and skill sets for particular jobs. In all areas, there was no significant difference between men and women. Well, in all areas but one. When men were asked to rate their own capabilities they consistently gave themselves higher marks than women gave themselves.
Is the answer to the lack of women in workplace leadership roles contained inside this interesting sliver of data? Could it be that the reason women aren’t in higher positions is because they aren’t trying to land them?
Of course the true answer to skewed ratios of men and women in power, and the troubling wage gap between the two, is more complicated than one study or self-evaluation can encapsulate. Women who do not ask for more money are unlikely to receive it. Women who do not apply for promotions cannot receive them. Women who believe themselves to be less effective than they truly are can easily convince others to believe that too.
So how can the tide be turned? What will it take to equalize the workforce playing field – once and for all?